Interviews: Ypres

In this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Post-Metal band Ypres from Russia. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?  

Denis: We put together a stable line-up and were practicing together as a band when we got invited to play at a now-defunct St. Petersburg venue, called Vegan Club. So we did, and that is how we popped our gigging cherry. As for the band name, I was watching a World War 1 documentary once and the name sort of naturally stuck with me.

Ivan: What Denis said.

Kirill: The guys came up with the name before I joined the band. Personally, I just thought it’d fit nicely in my pattern of playing in bands with a pain-in-the-ass name to pronounce.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Denis: Can’t really picture any other genre or framework for the themes we’re trying to get across.

Ivan: This depends on what genre we’re talking about. Truth be told, each of us has been and still is listening to a massive amount of very varied music, and as trivial as that sounds, it definitely influences what we ourselves do. If we’re talking post-metal, I guess we just really wanted to play both post-punk and doom metal at the same time and there was no way around it.

Kirill: As a listener, I’m influenced in pretty much equal parts by the rhythmic movement of jazz, funk and hip-hop and the heavy, deep groove of some of the slower or mid-tempo metal music. So post-metal was a no-brainer. Plus, there’s space for introspection and most of the time its music that fits a wide spectrum of moods. It’s practical.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Denis: I and Ivan were classmates and I’ve known him since 1997.

Ivan: The band was co-founded by Denis and me, and we’ve known each other since elementary school.

Kirill: I was friends with Andrei from Reka, Prichal and Sequoian Aequison and basically was just a fan of what the guys were doing musically. I was playing psych/space rock in Ciolkowska at the time. So when the time came in early 2015 for Andrei to move on from Ypres, he offered me to be his replacement. After their first European tour with Ypres and parting ways with Ciolkowska in 2016, I focused on the band full-time. Our current bassist also found his way into the band through common friends, in this case, Sequoian Aequison and Anthetic, and instantly proved a solid musician and a dedicated member.

4. Each band member favorite band?

Denis: Type O Negative, Those Poor Bastards

Ivan: Neurosis, Sleep, Cypress Hill

Kirill: Don Caballero, Auktyon, The Smiths, Tool, Abilene, Sumac, Tomahawk

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?  

Denis: I’m only influenced or inspired by real-life situations. Sometimes they’re more socially-oriented, like on the debut LP or the Genus Vitiousum EP, while right now they’re more grounded in personal things. This has actually been sort of experimental for me, in that I’d always tried to avoid the personal in favor of the global.

Ivan: In terms of how things operate in the band, there’s no dictatorship
meaning each one’s free to come up with their parts on their own. Being a
collective, though, it’s fair to say each of us influences the other in what we do

Kirill: Music is psychological sustenance and a vital language to me, I couldn’t really imagine not doing it in some shape of form down the line. But specifically speaking, I get inspired to play or write when I hear someone expressing themselves on their instrument in a way that resonates with me but also piques my curiosity as to how they were able to do that. So I try to get into that space to potentially explore their process behind that and that’s where I find an identity. To me, it’s one of the few ways of avoiding staleness.

6. Where was your last gig?  

Denis: Right now we’re on tour and we just played in Sofia, Bulgaria. A spot that’s very important for us in terms of audience feedback and probably one of the tour’s highlights.

Ivan: As of the time of this interview, we’re deep in a two-something- week binge touring with WOWOD, so each day’s our last gig. Coming back a bit further, definitely the shows with Amenra and Rosetta in Russia. It was cool to share the stage with them since despite their stature and popularity they’re open and easy-going people, pretty much like us. Naturally, shows at this level are very- well put together and organized, which is awesome to be a part of in and of itself.

Kirill: Our last gig was in Tallinn, Estonia with Mikhail, the drummer from WOWOD, filling in on bass (thanks a lot, dude!). Fun, challenging and refreshing. Brought me out of my comfort zone a little bit.

7. Where would you like to act?  

Denis: If we’re talking about where we’d like to play, then Roadburn springs to mind first.

Ivan: It’d be nice to take part in any sort of significant-scale open-air event in Europe. Roadburn Fest, naturally, is a great example.

Kirill: In terms of Europe, everyone’s favorite is going to be Roadburn, but to that, I’d definitely add Fluff Fest in the Czech Republic and Ieperfest in Belgium (c’ mon, with this band name we just gotta). It’d be also cool to play Tallinn Music Week. It’s also a long shot, but I’d fucking love to tour Canada sometime. It’s a bit of a dream of mine.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?  

Denis: At this time we’re all about trying out to expand stylistically. Wouldn’t want to spoil it before the upcoming release drops, but the featured artist on that won’t be what you’d call predictable.

Ivan: Any collab is engaging in its own right. It's interesting to hear clean or female vocals in our music. Or, in turn, writing music together with another band or musicians sounds like an awesome challenge.

Kirill: My immediate desire is to collab with our friends in WOWOD and Trna, as well as our practice space mates Miroed and Kashchey. It's also dope to do something with Nordra whom I saw opening for Sumac and Baptists in Sweden. She’s a class act and I can definitely hear a lot of common ground there.

9. Whom not?  

Denis: No idea honestly.

Kirill: I can’t help but be very personally biased in my music preferences, so I guess I wouldn’t want to feature with someone who is outspoken about social and political stances I oppose. However, that only comes second to the ability of the artist to bring something to the table musically.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?  

Denis: I’ll let others talk on this subject.

Kirill: As someone who’s dealt with stage fright and social anxiety in general pretty much my whole life, my advice to a beginner would be to a) rehearse the shit out of your material. 

Before you get out there, don’t focus on the anticipation but occupy your mind with exercise or meditation. Once you’re onstage, concentrate on your love for the music and why you began doing it in the first place and lose yourself in the flow like you’re by yourself or rehearsing with your band with no audience. Play with power and emotion and squeeze out every moment of it to have fun. Fright or anxiety is energy, all the same, just applied wrong. Channel it right and it can fuel your performance. It also helps to keep eye contact with your bandmates. You’re all in it together.

11. What bands have inspired you the most? 

Denis: Me personally, I’ve been most influenced by Justin Broadrick and Aaron Turner, who are examples of artists doing music for music’s sake, which to me is the only right way to do it.

Ivan: Consciously or otherwise, we’re very much inspired by what our friends and fellow bands are doing. The practice space we’re currently at is also home to the bands Tõll, Dopemachine, Kashchey, Miroed, Cone Forest and Kharybda. Each of them is a powerful act in their own right, capable of inspiring lots and lots of people.

Kirill: Chronologically speaking, in my life I was most inspired to play by Kino, Korn, Nirvana, Tool, Faith No More, Isis, The Mars Volta, John Frusciante, Mogwai, Meshuggah, Benny Greb and Sumac. That’s overlooking many others, but these are definitely some of the most formative artists for me as a listener transitioning into a player.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Denis: I often get asked for a picture with the image of kittens on my guitar amp, but that’s hardly unusual. I’d ask for that, too.

Ivan: The weirdest thing is when we get asked why we’re doing all this in the first place.

Kirill: To me the fact that someone comes up after a show or in general and says something appreciative about my music is surreal in and of itself.

13. What do you think of your fans?  

Denis: We have fans?

Kirill: I hope that they can be in some capacity inspired by what I do to overcome or transform something negative in their lives. If they can, that’s the biggest payoff to me there can ever be.

14. What do you think of our site? 

Denis: Frankly, I haven’t checked it out yet.

Kirill: Your website is featuring a pretty vast and impressive resume of bands you’ve worked with and you seem like a group of dedicated and hard-working people who know what they’re doing. Good job!

15. Something add?

Denis: Meow.

Another member: I guess the only thing I could add is that through doing this DIY music thing I’ve realized how much it brings people together even despite all the hardships. It can definitely get tough, but it’s worth it for the people you meet through it and for the vision it lets you realize. Don’t give up, stick to it, stay open-minded and try to use all the experiences on this often rough road to learn and share. Thank you.

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